Walnut grove youth correctional facility vigil - MSNewsNow.com - Jackson, MS

Walnut grove youth correctional facility vigil

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By Jewell Hillery – bio | email

JACKSON, MS (WLBT) - Friends and family of young men incarcerated and severely wounded during a huge fight at the Walnut Grove Youth Correctional Facility last February held a candle vigil in the youths honor Monday. Monico Lopez remembers the day as a war zone.

Lopez says, "I saw people getting stabbed, I saw people getting hit with TV's, I saw people getting beat with trash cans."

Lopez didn't simply see the violence, but he experienced the pain first-hand.  Lopez says, "I got stabbed three times, I saved a dear friend of mine to save him, I got stabbed, I got hurt."

Lopez risked his life for Michael McIntosh's son.  McIntosh's son's name is also Michael and now he's living with brain damage and several other injuries.

McIntosh says, "he couldn't even recognize me I was at the end of his bed in the hospital and he couldn't even see me."

Family and friends that have youth at Walnut Grove say that there's 1,200 youth that are in harms way everyday and they're demanding the center be closed down and that their loved one's be transferred elsewhere.

The Mississippi Department of Corrections has a residential service agreement with an organization that has a contract with The Geo Group Inc. The Geo Group Inc., is the private company that operates the youth corrections facility.

In a statement, Suzanne Singletary, the director of communications for MDOC says "we're reviewing the operations at Walnut grove and if we find out there are any issues we'll take care of it."

Lopez says he saw lots of violence while he was at Walnut Grove and last February he says security guards didn't do anything to help.

"I banged on the door and they just videotaped it and watched me bang on the door for 15 minutes and wouldn't open the door," says Lopez.

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